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"He Had No Work In Hathras, Use Of Tainted Money Can't Be Ruled Out": Allahabad High Court While Denying Bail To Sidhique Kappan

Sparsh Upadhyay
4 Aug 2022 9:29 AM GMT
Hathras Conspiracy, Allahabad High Court, Reserved, Verdict, Siddique Kappan, Bail Plea, UAPA Case,
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The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday denied bail to Kerala journalist Siddique Kappan in connection with the 'Hathras Conspiracy Case' as it noted that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the accusations against Kappan are prima facie true.

At the outset, the Court noted that during the investigation, it had come on record that Kappan had no work at Hathras when he was arrested.

"The State machinery was at tenterhooks owing to the tension prevailing due to various types of information being viral across all forums of media including the internet. The said sojourn of the applicant with co-accused persons who do not belong to media fraternity is a crucial circumstance going against him," the Court further said.

It may be noted that Kappan along with other accused were arrested by the UP police in October 2020 while they were proceeding to report the Hathras rape-murder crime.

Initially, they were arrested under the apprehension of causing a breach of peace and were produced before a court of the sub-divisional magistrate which sent them to judicial custody.

Subsequently, they were booked under the UAPA alleging that he and his co-passengers were trying to incite communal riots and disrupt social harmony in the wake of the Hathras gangrape-murder case.

Kappan had moved the Court after a local court in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh had rejected his bail plea last year in July.

In the bail order, the Bench of Justice Krishna Pahal referred to Apex Court's ruling in the case of National Investigation Agency vs. Zahoor Ahmad Shah Watali, wherein it was held that Section 43(D)(5) of the UAPA prohibits a Court from granting bail to accused, if, on a perusal of a final report filed under Section 173 Cr.P.C., the Court is of the opinion that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the accusations against such person are prima facie true.

The case in brief

As per the prosecution's case, Kappan along with three coaccused persons, were arrested with six smartphones, one laptop and pamphlets while they were on their way to Hathras.

The FIR alleged that he and other coaccused persons were heading to Hathras where the ill-fated incident of rape and murder had been committed with an intention to create caste struggle and incite riots.

The prosecution alleged that Kappan and others were collecting funds and running a website 'Carrd.com' so as to break the social harmony and incite violence.

It was further alleged that the said website also imparted training on concealing one's identity during demonstrations and ways to incite violence. The website was found to be full of misinformation, distorting true facts.

It was argued before the Court that Kappan is a resident of Kerala and has nothing to do with the incident of Hathras and he had come to hathras deliberately with a malafide intention.

It was also alleged that the applicant was in regular touch with the General Secretary of P.F.I. Kamal K.P., and the WhatsApp chats revealed that workshops had been conducted by the applicant and other co-accused persons to incite riots across the country, by raking up issues of C.A.A. and Babri Masjid demolition.

Lastly, it was submitted that in all, 45 papers pertaining to the banned organization 'SIMI' have been recovered from the laptop of the applicant and that he had also received tainted money which is on record.

Court's observations

At the outset, the Court noted that during the investigation, it had come on record that Kappan had no work at Hathras when he was arrested.

"The State machinery was at tenterhooks owing to the tension prevailing due to various types of information being viral across all forums of media including the internet. The said sojourn of the applicant with co-accused persons who do not belong to media fraternity is a crucial circumstance going against him," the Court fuether said.

The Court further said that the defence taken by Kappan that he is a journalist and only owing to his professional duty, he wanted to visit the place of Hathras incident, stood nullified by the averments in the charge-sheet and the persons, he was arrested while travelling in a car.

"The tainted money being used by the applicant and his colleagues cannot be ruled out," the Court added as it denied bail to Kappan noting that a perusal of the charge-sheet and documents adduced, prima facie revealed that the applicant has committed the offence

Case title - Sidhique Kappan v. State Of U.P.Thru.Prin.Secy.Home Lko.

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (AB) 355

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